By Tom Rhodes 6/27/2012
Fast and Furious are the last dying struggles of newspapers suffering from self inflicted wounds. Across the nation we see the downsizing and death of newspapers. They have lost and continue to lose their audience and influence. The steady decline of newspapers is not because people don't want in-depth reporting, want ads, or the comics. It's because the newspapers have abandoned their historic past of bringing all the news that's fit to print, to being outlets for the press releases of the government and big business.
The decline in influence and the no longer blind trust of the old guard press has been a long time coming. I remember when I first noticed the blatantly obvious bias in the media. It was the reporting in the newspaper and evening news that didn't match what I saw live from broadcasts of General Swartzkoff during the Gulf War. The reporting on what Swartzkoff said was different that what was actually said. To mitigate that, the press took to editing actual quotes and tapes to fit their bias. Unfortunately with the new media, it is easy to expose the press as biased liars; like the exposure of NBC's repeated and purposefully editing quotes and tapes to dramatically change the meaning of what actually was said or happened. NBC and MSNBC as a news source cannot be trusted to tell the unbiased truth, their diminishing influence reflects this simple fact. In general, the old guard press because of its own actions is losing influence and credibility.
Newspapers would have retained their circulation and power had they displayed skepticism of authority (the government), published, and pursued truth. Instead for decades they have presented one-sided narrative promoting statism and denigrating the values most Americans hold. Like the Gutenberg press dramatically decreased costs and brought newspapers and books to the masses and diminished the power of the Church and State, the digital age has made it so cost effective that anybody who wants can report on what they see. Publishing news is no longer limited to those with the money to afford a press or broadcast facilities. The old guard press, specifically newspapers, are no longer gatekeepers to the news. Virtually everyone carries the ability to video actual events and share them with their neighbors and the world. No longer are the actions of the city council whitewashed and cleaned up by their friends in the press, as the actual truth is now broadcast for all to see. The self evident bias of the news as reported by the old guard has resulted in their death. Their monopoly on the news is dead.
Hillary Clinton said we have too much free press and there should be "gate keepers" to the news. She longs for the days when the press and government were buddy-buddy and determined what the masses were told. Technology, Matt Drudge, and YouTube killed that.
Fast and Furious is the most prominent recent example, and why the main stream media is no longer trusted by the people, and why it is losing its audience and influence. The main stream media tried to ignore Fast and Furious, but the people and non-traditional media exposed it. It's been in the news for years, but when a US House of Representatives Committee votes to hold a cabinet member in contempt, an event that is huge, rare, and important, the old guard press now have to explain to their readers and viewers why they didn't think it was news worthy. Let's face it, in all of US history you can count on your fingers the number of times Congress has held in contempt a member of the president's cabinet. The facts, and truth of Fast and Furious, including the death a of Federal Border Patrol Agent with guns that the BATF and DOJ purposefully allowed to be sold to straw purchasers acting on behave of Mexican drug lords, should have been main stream news for years. The failure of the press to cover this and the DOJ cover-up, confirms to the public that the press is in support of liberal politicians, and is not an unbiased purveyor of truth whose duty is to hold the government accountable.
The old guard press insists that it, not mere everyday people, is the only proper purveyor of "news". Of course all who get their news from the old guard press have been completely ignorant of the deadly scandal, Fast and Furious (kudos to CBS for being the only old guard press to even attempt to cover Fast and Furious, but this is an exception not the norm). Blogs, and news aggregators like Drudge, have proven to be better reports of facts and details of extraordinary events like Fast and Furious than the old guard press.
The old guard press is aghast at the fact that people actually pay attention and believes the "new media". They shouldn't be, as new media has proven over the past 20 years to be better at exposing the misdeeds of government and politicians than the main stream press. The best photos and coverage of the damage to Tampa Bay area caused by Tropical Storm Debby have come from citizen journalists. The old guard press vilifies bloggers, and citizen journalists, but fails to report the truth, and actively works with government to determine what they think the people should be allowed to know. Thus the "new media" is growing and newspapers are dying. Clinton was impeached because "new media" not the old guard press, exposed his philandering ways. Clinton was not impeached because he cheated on his wife screwing around with an intern in the Oval Office; he was impeached for lying to Congress after he was caught and exposed by the new media. If not for the "new media" he would have never been caught. Matt Drudge destroyed the monopoly control the old guard media and the government had on "the news".
The old guard press, specifically news papers, are unconscious of their leftist bias to important events. Fast and Furious is the perfect example, but the bias is in a lot of other stories the press chooses to cover or not cover. Violent racist attacks are now becoming common place in our big cities, the old guard press not only chooses not to cover this, but to deny the obvious facts. Large groups of blacks in our big cities are attacking other races for no other reason than their race. If groups of Asians or whites were doing the same it would be wall to wall coverage every day on every news cast. Even when their own white reporters were drug out of their car and beat by a gang of blacks, an old school newspaper, refused to cover it; and the old school press wonders why they are losing audience and influence. Hundreds of thousands of times every year regular citizens legally and successfully use guns to defend themselves; this is rarely newsworthy to the old guard press. This bias not only in what is covered but how it is covered is blatant, but even when the readers of old guard newspapers say that they no longer read or trust the it because of its bias, the old guard media dismiss it, as the ravings of unenlightened rubes.
Like the good book says "the truth shall set you free", and the main stream press has been exposed and demonstrated that they can no longer be trusted to be the purveyor of the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. The old school press has lost its monopoly on news, and the trust of the people. Because we have Freedom of the Press, the Drudge Report, YouTube, a zillion blogs, are proof that in a free society it is the people, not the government nor the "press", who determine "all the news that's fit to print."
Because we still have a nominally free society, the people can and do get to choose what press they purchase, read, watch, listen, and believe. The people have spoken loudly and clearly; the result is the slow death of old school newspapers and the loss of influence of the old school media due to self inflicted wounds. Old guard media blaming the new media and society for the loss of readership and influence is like a man who gets caught cheating and lying to his wife blaming his Facebook and her because of what she saw on his mistresses FaceBook page rather than her trusting him to filter the information she sees. Like the cheating spouse who has been caught the consequences to old guard main stream press are the same, and even if forgiven and not divorced; the liar and cheat may be listened to but his word will always be suspect and have to be verified, because he has proven to be untrustworthy. Only the elimination of bias, true scrutiny of the government, and honest reporting for a long time can return the reputation of the main stream media, it will however never again be taken at its word without independent verification by the we the people.